Port City Atlas: Mapping European Port City Territories: From Understanding to Design


Carola Hein
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Yvonne van Mil
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Lucija Ažman Momirski
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Architecture
Keywords: atlas, gateways, port cities in Europe, port city territories, port maps, port city, urban sea


> The Atlas was created within the LDE PortCityFutures research group and the Faculty of Architecture TU Delft. It is part of the series on the Urbanization of the Sea, and the kick-off of a sub-series on Mapping Port Cities
> An analytical study on the complexity of port cities in Europe

A multitude of port cities dots Europe’s coastline, all serving the purpose of facilitating maritime transportation. Over millennia, public and private leaders have built harbours, urban spaces and infrastructures in diverse territories to serve hinterlands, including landlocked capital cities and metropolitan areas. As nodes on the edge of water and land, port city territories embody knowledge on maritime flows and water conditions. At a time of climate change, they can be paradigms and stewards of sustainable development.

Taking a comprehensive, mapping based approach, Port City Atlas visualizes 100 port city territories located on four seas and connected through shared waters. It provides a foundation for comparative analysis beyond case study approaches that are often locked into national contexts, select languages or disciplinary approaches. Conceived as a work of reference, the book makes the case for a sea-based approach to the understanding and design of Europe.


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Author Biographies

Carola Hein, Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

Carola Hein is Professor and Head of the Chair History of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Delft University of Technology and Professor at Leiden and Erasmus University. She holds the UNESCO Chair of Water, Ports and Historic Cities and leads the LDE PortCityFutures Centre. She has published widely in the field of architectural, urban and planning history, tying historical analysis to contemporary development. Among other major grants, she received a Guggenheim and an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship. The latter resulted in her edited book Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (Hein, 2011) where she first proposed the concept of the spatial impact of port related flows on cities and territories, the PortCityScape. Over the next decade, she continued her work on commodity flows in port cities and territories, focusing on the importance of long-term development and path dependencies. Following her appointment as professor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands in 2014, she has combined her interest in port cities with the GIS-based research tradition of the Chair History of Architecture and Urban Planning. Her article ‘Oil Spaces: The Global Petroleumscape in the Rotterdam/The Hague Area’ (Hein, 2018) describes the close link between water and oil. The co-edited book Urbanisation of Sea (Couling, Hein 2020) and the recent books The Routledge Planning History Handbook (2018), Adaptive Strategies for Water Heritage (2020), and Oil Spaces: Exploring the Global Petroleumscape (Hein 2021) analysing the close link between shipping, water, oil and ports set the stage for an atlas exploring and visualizing maritime flows on ports, cities and territories. Her many honours include the Sarton Medal in 2020, awarded to an outstanding scholar in the history of science.

Yvonne van Mil, Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

Yvonne van Mil is a Researcher and Cartographer at Delft University of Technology at the Chair History of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the Chair Complex Projects. Her research interests lie in spatial history and spatial planning, and specifically in regional development and geospatial mapping. She is co-author of several books, including Driven by Steel. From Hoogovens to Tata Steel 1918–2018 (2018), Atlas van het Westland, 10.000 ruimtelijke ontwikkeling (2016), and contributed chapters to the Atlas of the Dutch Urban Landscape (2014) and Atlas van de Schie. 2500 jaar werken aan land en water (2016). She has always been fascinated by ports, and joined the discussion on port cities professionally when she started working with Carola Hein in 2019. Her passion for maps and mapping as a means of studying and communicating spatial processes and expertise in systematic, spatial analyses led to shared publications on mapping and port city territories, and has paved the way for the Port City Atlas. Her co-authored articles include ‘Towards a Comparative Spatial Analysis for Port City Regions Based on Historical Geo-spatial Mapping’ (2019) (with Hein) and ‘Straddling the Fence: Land Use Patterns in and around Ports as Hidden Designers’ (2021) (with Hein and Ažman-Momirski).

Lucija Ažman Momirski, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Architecture

Lucija Ažman-Momirski is Associate Professor of Urban Design at the University of Ljubljana. Her research interest is the spatial development of port city territories. She has explored port expansion in studies of the Port of Koper and the city of Koper. Lucija Ažman-Momirski won the design competition
for that port’s new master plan in 2007. She was the project leader for drafting professional guidelines in the spatial reorganisation of the Port of Koper, Slovenia, from 2007 to 2011; this work also won the International Maks Fabiani Award in 2015 and International Urban Planners Exhibition Award in
2015. She has expanded her work on port cities to education and research, publishing ‘The Resilience of the Port Cities of Trieste, Rijeka, and Koper’ in a special issue of The Journal of Urban History on port cities and resilience. Her (co-)authored published research papers include ‘Shifts in Governance: Who Governs and What is Governed in the Port of Koper’ (2020), ‘Straddling the Fence: Land Use Patterns in and around Ports as Hidden Designers’ (2021) (with Van Mil and Hein) and ‘Port City Resilience: Piloting a socio-spatial method for understanding, comparing and representing linked maritime heritage’ (2022) (with Hein and Van Mil).


June 29, 2023


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Details about the available publication format: Atlas part 1

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